I succeed.

Faculty and Staff Administration

Amy Barrett

Amy Barrett – Bookkeeper

I moved to Seattle from Texas with my husband after graduating from Texas A&M. I spent 20 years working for a national security and communication company as a regional manager. For 5 years I also worked in a bookkeeping role at a local faith-based organization. In 2007, I helped to establish a weekly feeding program in Ballard, focused on providing a safe place for the homeless and needy in the community. I’m still very active in this program. I began working at Rising Sun Accounting and NWSDHH in 2018.

When not working with clients, I enjoy spending time with my family, cooking, camping, hiking, and reading.  



Araceli Castañeda

Araceli Castañeda

Araceli Castañeda – Receptionist/Administrative Assistant

I am the Administrative Assistant to the Operations Manager at Northwest School for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children. I serve as the primary contact for external offices and provide technical and logistical support on multiple projects and meetings. I joined NWSDHH in the spring of 2019. Prior to my position at NWSDHH, I worked as a Human Resources Assistant. I also worked at Harriet Thompson Elementary School as a former AmeriCorps member helping children with reading development.

I grew up in a Spanish-speaking home enabling me to become fluent in Spanish. I also studied ASL and found an appreciation for Deaf Culture. My linguistic knowledge has helped me become a bridge of communication for many. It is my joy and privilege to be a part of an extraordinary community which thrives to better equip children who otherwise would be underrepresented in a public school system.

Outside of work I enjoy spending time with my family whether it’s swimming at Snoqualmie Falls, cooking together, or simply relaxing.

Jim Collier

Jim Collier – Facilities Manager

Montana born, Navy vet, and Northwest resident. I have over 20 years in the construction and facilities management fields. I have worked for construction companies as a project manager and estimator. Most recently I was facilities manager for a large multi-campus religious organization.

I am thrilled to be able to support in a small way the goals and mission of Northwest School for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Children.

When not working, I enjoy woodworking and wildlife photography. My wife and I have 2 cats and a rescued greyhound.

Samuel Dahlin

Samuel Dahlin – Accountant

I am the owner of Rising Sun Accounting, a bookkeeping and accounting firm that provides services to nonprofit organizations in the Seattle area. I started working with NWSDHH in 2017.
I have a passion for helping bridge the gap between nonprofits and their finances by bring stability to the accounting & bookkeeping processes; and I love working with NWSDHH!
I have a B.A. in Global Development Studies from Seattle Pacific University and certificates in Bookkeeping and Non-Profit Management from North Seattle College. I got my start in nonprofit accounting with Seattle Amistad School in 2014, and started Rising Sun Accounting in 2015. In my free time, I enjoy being outdoors, with my family, through a variety of activities including hiking, backpacking, cross country skiing, and paddle-boarding.
Sheila Dills

Sheila Dills

Sheila Dills – School and Community Engagement Manager

I was born and raised in various areas of California. In 2011, I graduated from California State University, Fresno’s comprehensive program, where I received both my Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Deaf Education. I worked for five years in California’s Central Valley as an early education D/HH teacher. I have a background in ASL and listening and spoken language approaches. By joining the Northwest School for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Children team in 2016, I have found a place that matches my philosophy of deaf education, has a supportive environment, includes wonderful students and families, and is a place to grow as an educator. I am truly so blessed to be here.


Danise Heisey

Danise Heisey

Danise Heisey – Director of Educational Programming

A native of California’s sunny Central Valley, I earned my Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees at California State University, Fresno, in Communication Disorders and Deaf Studies while working as a substitute ASL interpreter and teacher. After graduating I worked with the Fresno Unified School District oral/aural program, but knew I wanted a different experience in Deaf/Hard-of-Hearing education. It was then that a former professor sent me a job posting from Northwest School with the message: “This is the job for you.” And it was.

In August of 2010 I joined NWSDHH, which creates a healthy and positive working environment for educators so that we, in turn, can do the same for our students. I enjoy supporting parents as they navigate through the unique journey of raising children with hearing loss. After 10 years of teaching, I started in my new role as Education Coordinator. NWSDHH has the best teachers and educational assistants/interpreters, and I now have the privilege of supporting them do their best work. 

I also run the Spanish-Speaking Families Program. This additional role for me serving our d/hh students from Spanish-speaking homes as well as their families is a particular passion of mine, including home visits and S.E.E. sign classes in Spanish. 
Mandi Hinsley

Mandi Hinsley

Mandi Hinsley – Operations Manager

It has been a lifelong dream of mine to live in the Seattle area. I’ve been here for several years and was so happy to join the NWSDHH team. It’s the icing on my already sweet cake!

I have spent most of my career working with and supporting small businesses; contributing to their communication, organization, and professionalism. It is a privilege to use my skills to support this wonderful school community. 




James E. Kilpatrick, Jr., Ph.D.

James E. Kilpatrick, Jr., Ph.D. – Dean of Deaf Studies

I am the Department Chair and Full Professor of Spanish and Teacher Education at Missouri Southern State University and the Supervisor of Medical Interpreter Interns and student teachers of foreign languages at the University. I have 8 years of experience as a Tri-lingual Video Relay interpreter of Spanish/ASL/English with Sorenson Video Relay Service and a national Instructor/Trainer of Signing Exact English with the S.E.E. (Signing Exact English) Center of California and have worked as an educational sign language interpreter from pre-school level to graduate school for over 20 years. I hold multiple certifications, including Advanced Level certification in ASL & PSE/CASE, certification at the Mastery Level in S.E.E., and Spanish certification with the International Berlitz scale at the Mastery Level “C2.” In my role as Dean of Deaf Studies for Northwest School for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Children, my efforts focus on enhancing relationships between the school, the Deaf Community and other agencies working for deaf children and their families. Additionally, I lead the school’s EIPA Success! Program, which is aimed at ensuring exceptional competence of S.E.E. sign interpreters at our school and around the region. My wife Christy and I are raising triplets in Lawrence, Kansas.

Sara Reyerson

Sara Reyerson

Sara Reyerson – Chief Operating Officer

I joined the NWSDHH staff in 2016. Working in partnership with our highly skilled, passionate educators, administrative staff and board, I provide leadership for our school’s sustainability, external relations, day-to-day operations and long-term organizational development. I manage a range of staff teams including fund development, communications, and internal operations.

I have devoted my career to creating opportunity for women, children and families in our community. I come to NWSDHH with more than twenty years of service focused in non-profit leadership, fund and program development and organizational change. I have a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology/Criminology from Minnesota State University Moorhead. I am a graduate of Bridge Builders, a leadership program of the Women’s Funding Network, Leadership Tomorrow and Harvard Kennedy School’s Course in Exponential Fundraising. I serve on the Board of Directors for The IF Project and Advisory Board of Girls on the Run of Puget Sound.

My love of education began in my earliest days. I was an eager student and both of my parents were educators. I grew up witnessing the transformative impact of high-quality education. Focusing my work on the school’s mission feels like home to me.

Yoshiko Saheki

Yoshiko Saheki

Yoshiko Saheki – Annual Giving Manager

I’m delighted to be working in this special community and to be part of the future of Northwest School. As a career fundraiser, I have always worked at institutions with an educational mission because education is part of my core values. Learning is joyful and it’s a pleasure to be able to see children in this supportive environment. Their desire to learn and the dedication of the teachers here are truly inspirational!




Andrea Vanni

Andrea Vanni

Andrea Vanni – Communications Manager

My background is mainly in non-profit and tourism marketing, reflecting my commitment to both philanthropy and travel. I’ve lived abroad twice (in Italy and South Korea), and my experiences in those countries learning new languages and navigating unfamiliar territories has given me a greater empathy for our students as they learn and acquire language. I enjoy using my years of marketing and communications experience to support NWSDHH and the good work that is being done here!

In my free time, you’ll find me with my husband and our young daughter exploring the world around us, whether that’s halfway across the globe or in our own backyard.